Explain La China Poblana in Mexican culture?
China poblana (or, Chinese Pueblan) is a term that refers to two elements of the culture of Mexico that have been related by name since the end of the 19th century, although the elements they incorporate are much older. In its most commonly and widely used sense today, it is the name of what is considered the traditional style of dress of women in the Mexican Republic, although in reality it only belonged to some urban zones in the middle and southeast of the country, before its disappearance in the second half of the 19th century. In a narrower sense, it is the nickname of Mirra, a slave, belonging to a noble family from India brought to Mexico through the Spanish East Indies, who has been credited since the Porfiriato with creating the china dress. According to the legend, at the request of Diego Carrillo de Mendoza y Pimentel, Marquis of Gélves and Viceroy of New Spain, A young Indian woman was brought from the Philippines by merchant ship to be the viceroy's personal servant. This girl, named Mirra, was kidnapped by Portuguese pirates and taken to Cochin (modern-day Kochi), in the south of India. There, she escaped her kidnappers and took refuge in a Jesuit mission, where she was baptized with the name Catarina de San Juan. Mirra was again kidnapped by the same pirates that had taken her from her birth parents, and in Manila they delivered her to the merchant who later took her to New Spain. But once they disembarked in the port of Acapulco, instead of delivering her to the Marquis, the merchant sold her as a slave to the Pueblan man Miguel de Sosa for ten times the price that the viceroy had promised for her. Catarina de San Juan, or Mirra (or Mira/Meera), followed the style of dress of her birth country, India, completely wrapped in a sari that covered her whole body. It is possible that this mode of dress gave rise to the china dress. A few years after her arrival in Mexico, Miguel de Sosa died, providing in his will for the manumission of his slave. She was taken in by a convent, where it is said she began to have visions of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. Catarina de San Juan died 5 January 1688 at the age of 82 years. In Puebla de los Ángeles she was venerated as a saint until 1691, when the Holy Inquisition prohibited open devotion to her. Today, the Templo de la Compañía, in Puebla, is known as La Tumba de la China Poblana because in its sacristy lie the remains of Catarina de San Juan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Poblana http://www.johntoddjr.com/127%20China/poblana.htm (a lengthy description with accompanying photos)